Is there a certain theme or specific characteristic shared by your customers? What kinds of clients do you primarily serve… Does it vary from toddlers, to their daddies, to teens with a funky color-sense, or do you tend to draw in a more specific and homogenous crowd, like millennials wanting fun pastel highlights and accents?
Once you’ve determined YOUR salon/spa’s niche market, you are able to lay out and get specific with your “customer avatar” (also known as your “buyer persona”). Having a deep insight into who your customers are allows your messages to reach them better; therefore, laying out your niche market and ideal client are absolutely critical to your marketing strategy.
… but how do you find your niche market?
Start by making a “wish list” of the people and types of people you think you would enjoy working with. Include the geographical range, company personality/culture/interests, and types of people you want to target. Be specific. A lot of companies fail here, as they are far too broad. Targeting teenagers isn’t enough; you’d want to drill deeper (e.g., young women ages 13-20, living in Boulder, Colorado, with an average household income of $50,000-$70,000).
Next, clarify exactly what it is that you are selling. What are you good at? As a hairstylist, do you like doing short pixie cuts, are you a color specialist, or do you enjoy working with elderly clientele? Remember that your specialty product/service effectively fulfills a need or fixes a problem, but it can’t be ALL things to ALL people. Choose one thing that you really enjoy doing… something that makes you happy and something you are good at. With this process, your niche should naturally come to you. Based on your interests, experiences, and knowledge, decide what product/service it is that you want to specialize in.
For example, say that as a young adult you worked for a big, corporate salon chain and liked working with high-fashion 20-30 year old women; but now, you work for a much smaller salon where the team is incredible, but your clientele is much more varied. The key is to weigh out everything you enjoy doing, things you have done that you liked, your skills, what you are good at, etc., as well as things you didn’t like, then put it all together. In this example, you probably picked up that your best personal business venture (based on your own skill set and for your own happiness) would be: serving a niche clientele of high-fashion 20-30 year old women in your small, cozy, team-oriented salon. Figure out exactly what it is that you feel you would enjoy specializing in; then, see if it’s possible!
Evaluate. Will this niche market take you where you need to go? Is it realistic (and profitable)? Can you compete in this space?
If it is already a somewhat crowded niche market, that might still be okay! It shouldn’t be too saturated, but some competition is a good thing! It shows that it is a good market to be in, and it shows that customers already want it and are buying it. It’s already proven.
Competition also keeps you on your feet, constantly progressing.
Most importantly, more than anything…
Passion will always beat competition.
Even if the amount of competition seems to be a little more than desired, if you are passionate about what you are doing, GO FOR IT!
Just be different. Stand out.
How are you better than your competition? Let those qualities shine!
Do you create better content than your competitors (posts, podcasts, webinars, blogs, etc.)? Or is there something you do differently? Do you take a unique approach to targeting your niche?
Should you enter?
When you think you’ve figured out your niche market, here’s a checklist you can go through to get validation on whether or not you should enter this market: Niche Questionnaire Checklist. The majority of your responses should be positive, and hopefully this will solidify your niche market choice 😉
Once your niche market is determined and your product/service is ready for them, TEST IT! You can do this by offering samples, like free product samples or a free mini-seminar on hair styling. See that your desired market syncs well with your services offered. Are they interested in what you’re selling??
If all of your homework has been done, it is time to enter the market! Don’t forget to spruce up your website, any signage in your salon, and marketing communications. They should have the same feeling and “vibe” as your niche so that they are appealing to your target market.
Keep up with it!
Remember that even once your niche is clear, established, and well-received by your customers, you must always keep up with it. Check back in with your niche every 6 months (or more!) to be sure you are still on target. Ask yourself questions, like: Who are your target clients, and who are not? What do clients think you stand for? Do you offer what prospective clients want? Do you have a sense of passion and devotion for your niche? Does it feel comfortable and natural? Will pursuing your niche help you reach your business’s goals?
It’s important to know to whom you are marketing so that your message can be specifically formed and designed with them in mind. That’s where “customer avatars,” or “buyer personas” come in handy!
These are terms used to describe a fictional representation of your business’s best customers.
A clearly defined customer avatar allows you to know the exact target you are aiming at. This saves you advertising and marketing dollars, as you will know things like: which social platforms to be on and which to advertise on. It will allow you to develop and communicate your messages better, as you can create posts based on your customer avatar’s preferences, desires, likes, and dislikes. Also, having a clearly defined avatar gives you the ability to work on and improve your products or services based on their needs/ wants/ desires. You can track the market to stay on top of it and up to date, and you can anticipate any new needs, behaviors, or concerns. Keep in mind that your avatar should be based off of real, current market research, not just your personal perception or opinion.
“You can’t hit a target you cannot see,
and you cannot see a target you do not have.”
– Zig Ziglar
It might even be helpful to create a negative avatar, a representation of who you don’t want as a customer. Think of past business relationships and remember all the details of why the relationship was unsuccessful. Why did that person not make a good fit for the product/service?
Identifying who you don’t want as a customer can be helpful in determining who you DO want!
Get specific with your customer avatar. Make it realistic, so you can better understand and connect with it.
Give it a name, a face (a stock image is fine), and a personal story that brings them to life. Include your avatar’s goals, values, demographics, psychographics, everything…
It’s okay to eventually have more than one customer avatar (especially if you sell other products/services that appeal to a separate market), but it’s important to focus on (and master!) just one at a time.
If you need help creating your avatar, I’d definitely recommend checking out this website: How to Create Your Customer Avatar. The author goes into greater detail in helping you define your avatar. Remember that you have to dig deep with your avatar. Get specific! How to Create Your Customer Avatar includes an awesome, super-detailed template that you can download to aid in your avatar description. It also has a great example of a customer avatar so you can see how specific you should get here.
For the benefit of both yourself and your business, specialize in something that 1) you enjoy doing, and 2) you are good at! With your expertise and confidence shining through, you will naturally attract some of that niche audience you so desire. To capture the rest of that audience, you need to find them. Reach out to them, advertise and market to them. Form the appropriate messaging, imaging, and vibe.
With your desired niche market drawn to you, along with your continuous effort to engage with and reach out to that market, you will be working with your desired, ideal customers in no time!
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